Since his heart attack nearly a month ago, presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders has been facing criticism from Americans over his health. Sanders, who turned 78 this September, has been attacked for being too old and for his health being too unstable, facing calls to drop out of the race. However, in hindsight, this health scare ought to be regarded as a nonissue.
While it is concerning to see that Sanders had a heart attack, it is not all that uncommon; the CDC reports that about half of Americans have at least one of the big three risk factors for heart disease. The surgery Sanders had, which inserted two stents into his artery, is also uncomplicated and fairly common: Between 600,000 and 1 million stent procedures are done each year, and patients are able to return home within a day or two.
The fact that Sanders is 12 years older than the average age of men who have heart attacks (66 years old) ought to be seen as a sign of his body’s resilience. Sanders has continued to prove after this incident just how active he is: Days after the surgery, he played in a baseball game. He is still campaigning, going out and meeting voters and speaking about the issues he has fought for for years.
In fact, it’s former Vice President Joe Biden that America should be worried about.
The list of Biden’s verbal mistakes is long and ongoing, as are his list of health issues. In the past, Biden has suffered from allergies, asthma, high cholesterol, an irregular heartbeat, an enlarged prostate, two aneurysms and gallbladder removal. The fact that Biden also continues to stutter, misspeak, forget and slur words is also concerning for the majority of voters who want a candidate who is obviously healthy and able to take on the hardest job in the country.
Recently, Biden has been making more and more gaffes in debates and during campaign events; so many, in fact, that a website The Federalist has kept a running list of all of the slip-ups. While some were less serious—such as forgetting the name of Merrick Garland—the majority are distinct and harmful mistakes. One of the more famous gaffes, which occurred at a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, was when Biden claimed that “poor kids are just as bright as white kids”. It’s confusing as to what he meant to say, but the result and implication of this remark is worse: that all poor kids are children of color and are somehow innately less intelligent than white kids. In a similar instance during September’s Democratic Debate, Biden also confused Iraq with Afghanistan. Both of these mishaps are concerning, especially for voters who are non-white.
The important details Biden has mixed up or forgotten and the topics about which he has misspoken are significant. As a voter, it makes me question if he is in the right state of mind to even be working. Can he be trusted to lead the country when he mixes up Vermont and New Hampshire? Can he be the best president for working class Americans when he mixed up the name of Stop & Shop and Rite Aid during the strike? Is he in tune with the present when he recommends that parents leave a record player on at night so kids will be smarter? Will he be a good president for non-white citizens even when he has said former President Obama is the first mainstream black person that is “articulate” and “clean,” and that “you can’t go to a 7-11 or Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have an Indian accent?” The answer is an obvious no.
While Bernie Sanders has kept up a successful and meaningful campaign unaffected by his health, the younger Joe Biden can’t even keep track of basic facts and history, let alone cement his shifty policy stances. America has held onto Joe Biden as tightly as possible for so long; it’s now time for him to be let go.
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Liz Collins is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.